By Richa Chadda
I grew up in Delhi, in a Punjabi household, most of whom had given up their carnivorous ways of life by the time I turned five. From when I was a toddler, I remember having a strange and magical affinity towards animals. They loved me and I loved them. I had several pets, (adopted strays) throughout my childhood. As a kid, I wondered how and why, being pretty much born in the same state as them-walking on all fours for a while and not having the benefit of language-did we humans decide that it was up to us to decide the fate of other species. Didn’t God make us all equal?
I remember looking at petrified faces of small chickens as they pecked away at each other, being transported in tiny, cramped cages that offered them no respite from the scorching sun or rain or the merciless winter of the north. I was vegetarian for this reason. I couldn’t bear to think that an animal would have to die in order for me to fill my stomach when I already had countless plant-based options.
But it was last year, in the month of November that I became vegan. And I have since realised there’s no better food for the homo-sapien than the vegan diet.
Why you ask?
It’s good for you.
Study after study is proving that the human dentition pattern and anatomy is actually better suited for vegetarianism. The ‘protein myth’ is being busted. Your body actually doesn’t require so much protein: don’t listen to that gym trainer who can’t even turn his neck around to see you, because he’s so stiff and looks like Johnny Bravo. All I actually gained from having protein shakes and ‘vegetarian’ eggs in the past was unsightly muscle in the wrong places.
Meat and dairy are bad for you.
I know food is a cultural and emotional issue. I know. I belong to the land of butter chicken and paranthas with desi ghee and curd. But it’s bad for you. Certain meat consumption helps contribute to colonic cancer and dairy is linked to osteoporosis. The meat you eat can stay rotting in your intestines (which are really looooong) for days. And ferment.
And for those who argue that sea food/fish are okay, please note that the effect of having aqua life in your diet has been compared to smoking a low tar cigarette. A single egg exceeds your daily cholesterol intake needs. Oh, where do I even begin now!
It’s bad for the environment.
The largest contribution to Co2 emissions doesn’t come from fossil fuel, but from animals and poultry that are being reared purely for the pleasure of our appetite. Fancy yourself as a planet lover? Please stop eating other creatures.
It is VERY cruel.
Imagine being born and raised solely because someone will make a chicken breast piece out of you?
Or fry your brain, care for some bheja fry? Or make a soup out of your foot- paya anyone?
I can’t stomach the thought of someone cutting a buffalo’s throat, ramming a knife through a pig’s heart or cramming chickens into cages so small they can’t even spread a wing, let alone bear to ingest such misery.
Cows and buffaloes on today’s dairy farms are repeatedly impregnated, often genetically manipulated to have enlarged udders and commonly drugged to force them to produce more milk than they would naturally.
Shortly after birth, calves are often taken away from their mothers and deprived of the milk that was meant for them. On so-called modern dairy farms, mothers are hooked up to milking machines, which can cause electrical shocks, painful lesions and mastitis. These cows cry for days because they miss their calves. But more importantly, can you not recall a healthy cow digging out food from a plastic bag at an open dump in your city? The milk that’s considered to be so good for us is full of cows raised on toxins and chemicals. These are not the healthy bovine creatures our parents had access to. Holy cow!
Most hens used for egg production spend their lives stuffed into tiny cages. Instead of giving them more space, when they are just a few days old, the birds have a large portion of their beaks cut off with a burning-hot blade, without being given any painkillers, since they peck each other in sheer frustration. Many birds, unable to eat because of the pain, die from dehydration and/or weakened immune systems. But it’s the tiny chicks that have it the worst. They are put into a grinding machine while they are ALIVE.
Our ancestors were carnivorous, some may argue, but then they EVOLVED to farmers from being hunter gatherers
Tigers/lions are on top of the food chain in the wild. But they hunt to eat and survive. They don’t have the option of a cous-cous salad or palak-tofu. If you really believe that man is on top of the food chain, you must also know that human kind is driving its own species and the planet dangerously close to extinction.
It makes you pretty/handsome
I know if the aforementioned reasons don’t appeal to you, this one definitely will.
Since the time I have given up dairy and eggs everything in my body has been better. The texture of my skin is cleaner, more luminous, my hair is shiny and softer, and I am definitely in better shape.
PS- healers in several cultures don’t eat animal products and meat because of karmic and ethical reasons.
In conclusion, because of all the things I have shared above, I highly recommend a shift to the vegan diet. Do good, be good and look good. Here’s hoping that together we can live in peace on this planet that we share, not just with each other, but will all the other beautiful species as well.
Love and warmth!
Interested? Take the first step today by ordering PETA’s free Vegetarian/Vegan Starter Kit, complete with nutrition information, how-to-transition tips and mouth-watering recipes.